Daily Archives: February 9, 2017

The mystery of 2015

Seth Emerson gets asked a direct question about Georgia’s dysfunctional coaching staff from Richt’s last season and does the best he can with it, for obvious reasons.

What really happened between the coaches the week of the Kentucky game in 2015?  This is when the rumors swirled about Jeremy Pruitt being fired, and presumably is at the center of Tracy Rocker’s later comments about a “mutiny” in Mark Richt’s last year.  Guy O., Ithaca, NY (UGA 1997)

Well, that’s a tricky one. Maybe as the years go on people in the know will be more comfortable revealing things. But right now they’ve all got jobs and in the coaching industry speaking out on such subjects isn’t viewed favorably. You saw that when Mike Ekeler, in an interview last year with a Texas newspaper, slipped up and talked about working with people he couldn’t stand, or something along those lines. Ekeler quickly tweeted out that he enjoyed working with Richt. (He didn’t mention the other guys.)

I’ll be honest here in that I know and suspect more than I’m willing to share, for reasons of confidentiality with sources, etc. What I am willing to say is that I’ve not heard anything to confirm that there was some major incident. It seems it was just the usual clash of personalities in a workplace, exacerbated by a bad stretch of losing in which one side of the ball (offense) was mainly at fault. There were factions, and even if Richt had been retained he was going to have to make changes. Rocker, Kevin Sherrer and Pruitt were generally of the same mind, while guys like John Lilly and Bryan McClendon did their best to keep their heads down. (And you saw how good a job McClendon did in holding things together, guiding the team to a bowl win, with Lilly guiding the offense and Sherrer the defense.)

That said, I don’t think Richt was let go because of all the tumult on the staff. It really was about the on-field product, and not wanting to let South Carolina hire Smart.

I agree with the last paragraph there, pretty much, anyway.  That being said, one day somebody’s gonna write a book about Richt’s final season in Athens and it’ll make for one helluva read.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Meet the new boss.

If you don’t know anything about Georgia’s new defensive line coach, join the club.  I looked around for a few comments assessing Tray Scott and found these, for what they’re worth.

From Dawgs247:

Dawgs247 reached out to someone very familiar with Scott. Nathan O’Neal, a defensive line trainer with VIP Training, has helped develop over 40 defensive linemen for college football and has trained dozens of NFL players as well. One of O’Neal’s clients is North Carolina defensive end Tomon Fox. As a true freshman in 2016, Fox had a fumble recovery against Georgia in the season opener and four tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery against Illinois the following week before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

O’Neal gave his initial thoughts on the addition of Scott to Georgia’s staff.

“That’s a great hire. Coach Scott, number one, he comes from one of the best defensive line coaches of all time as his mentor, and that is Pete Jenkins,” O’Neal said. “Coach Jenkins has developed so many guys who are currently defensive line coaches in college football and the NFL.”

… According to O’Neal, Scott will have an easy transition into the Bulldogs’ defensive scheme.

Kirby Smart, as a defensive coordinator at Alabama, had defensive line coaches with Pete Jenkins ties,” O’Neal said. “So everything they want to do defensively, Coach Scott has learned from the best source in how to develop guys for that system. It’s a perfect fit.”

While Scott has only had two years recruiting as an on-the-field coach at the FBS level, O’Neal feels he has a chance to become a stout addition for Georgia.

“He is a young, hungry guy,” O’Neal said. “He is very honest and up front with his recruits – which is really becoming the common factor on that Georgia staff. He is going to help Kirby Smart lock down the state of Georgia for Georgia.”

From Rivals:

According to Tarheel Illustrated publisher Andrew Jones – who covered the newest Georgia assistant the past two years at North Carolina – its someone who’s not afraid to get down and dirty with his players.

“I’ve spent a lot of time watching him and the kids love him. He’s really hands-on, he’s involved and he gets as sweaty as the kids are,” Jones said. “He looks like a player. He gets down in there, he does drills with them and he shows them stuff. He’ll get down in a four-point stance and he’ll hit the dummy like he’s competing for a starting job.”

Scott, who comes to Georgia from Ole Miss where he had just been hired by Hugh Freeze, helped improve the run defense for the Tar Heels, who switched over from a 4-2-5 prior to last year.

“He wasn’t dealt a great hand to work with because they were transitioning from a 4-2-5 to a 4-3 base and their 4-2-5 was really small,” Jones said. “But they did improve a lot. Their run defense, as much maligned as it has been, has really made a lot of progress. I know that Nazair Jones (former UNC defensive lineman who is leaving early for the NFL Draft) spoke very highly about Coach Scott, teaching him to play lower and more aggressive. And I would say that’s where they probably made their most strides– that, and handling their gap responsibilities better.”

And, best of all, from Latrell Murchison:

Tray Scott was only at Ole Miss for six weeks, but one of his first actions was to go visit a junior college defensive lineman, who was so impressed by Scott that he committed within days.

The player, in one of those many ironies of recruiting, was Larrell Murchison, who would eventually switch (silently) his commitment to Georgia, only to end up at N.C. State. Then on Wednesday, upon hearing the news that Scott was headed to Georgia, all Murchison could say was how lucky the Bulldogs were.

“They’re definitely getting a good one,” Murchison said. “Just being recruited by him the last month, I could tell what kind of person he was. Definitely a great dude to work with.”

Murchison is philosophical about his fate, which is a sensible approach when recruiting is largely a business decision these days.

Murchison was somebody that Scott had pinpointed when he was at North Carolina, just going off of film. At the time he was a rather lightly-recruited defensive tackle at Louisburg (N.C.) junior college. Upon his hiring at Ole Miss, Scott jumped on Murchison, who quickly committed, only to switch to Rocker and Georgia the Thursday before signing day. The next week, Georgia pulled the offer because of a numbers crunch, by which time Ole Miss had moved on, and Murchison ended up at N.C. State.

When Scott ended up at Georgia, Murchison could only marvel.

“That’s really weird,” Murchison said. “That would’ve been crazy, if Georgia had had a little more roster room, scholarship money-wise, that really would’ve been crazy to get to work with him at Georgia.”

As Jack McCoy once said, life is a funny old dog.  But I digress.

From the limited feedback there, it sounds like Kirby thinks he’s getting a guy who’s approach meshes with Georgia’s defensive philosophy and who will make a determined effort on the recruiting trail.  Given the speed of the hire, in fact, I’d say he believes that pretty strongly.

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The Roquan Smith option

For all the hand wringing over one of college football’s more detestable traditions, assistant coaches leaving staffs almost before the ink has dried after signing day, and the associated insistence that something ought to be done about it, damn it, am I missing something, or do recruits (at least the highly sought after ones) not already have a weapon in their arsenal?

It’s great to talk about committing to a school rather than a coach, but I think Reagan’s advice — trust but verify — might prove more useful.  Waiting out the post-signing day staff shuffle is a productive way to do just that.

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Filed under Recruiting

Todd Grantham doesn’t want much.

Just what every newly hired defensive coordinator in America wants

“From a philosophical standpoint, the number one thing that you got to do is you got to stop the run,” Grantham said. “You can’t let people run the ball on you.”

From there, as Grantham added, offenses become one-dimensional with the pass and the objective, from a defensive standpoint, is to make the quarterback’s life miserable with a pass-rush and force turnovers.

“If you do that,” Grantham said, “with the identity that we want to play with, which is fast, physical and aggressive, you’re going to be in every game.”

Also, “out of his front seven, Grantham wants physicality, size and an aggressive group that will look to create negative yardage plays.”  Hey, I know of a defensive line coach out there he might want to take a look at.

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Filed under SEC Football

The NCAA, always about the student-athlete

Ah, the nobility.

Though the NCAA has no subpoena power to compel people outside of its jurisdiction to help investigations, coaches and athletes are bound by rule to speak with the enforcement staff and risk significant penalties for not telling the truth. Duncan said offering immunity is particularly helpful with athletes who might be fearful that they would incriminate themselves in violations.

“Our desire is never to focus on student-athlete culpability,” Duncan said. “In enforcement, our broader desire is to zero in and focus on the adult culpability, the grown-ups who are involved in violations, and one way to substantiate information or to get refuting information is to talk to the student-athletes or prospective student-athletes, particularly in our focus areas of recruiting and academic integrity.

“It is effective to help encourage that young man or young woman to cooperate with us if he or she knows they’ll be eligible to play and won’t be cited for a violation of the infractions process.”

Tell that to AJ Green, shithead.

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“I guess it just depends on the person you hire.”

Phil Fulmer makes his case to be UT’s next AD.  Hey, he can’t be any worse than Mike Hamilton.  (Not that we need him to be.)

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, The Glass is Half Fulmer

“I’m not who I am today if I don’t go play at Georgia.”

Nice Chip Towers story about Terrell Davis and Ray Goff burying the hatchet.

“I think of Ray a lot,” Davis said as he drove his 6-year-old son Jaxon to school Wednesday morning. “I get emotional talking about him right now. I learned a lot from him. A lot of times you don’t realize the effect somebody is having on you until years later. You kind of missed the message.”

Davis said he still proudly identifies himself as a Bulldog. He credits his three years in Athens as providing the foundation for his NFL career.

“I didn’t have the success I would have liked at Georgia, but Georgia is still the building block for me,” Davis said. “That’s where I got the confidence to know I could compete at the highest level. I look back on my career and every step of the way was important to developing who I am today as a person. So what I went through at Georgia, the good and the bad, I don’t wish it was different. It all makes you who you are. I’m not who I am today if I don’t go play at Georgia.”

Retrospectively, Davis said he’s glad he endured injury problems and sporadic playing time at Georgia.

“If I’d have gone out and had a 1,500-yard season or something like that, I may have gotten drafted by the Cleveland Browns or something,” he said. “Instead I ended up in Denver, which was the perfect place for me.”

That it was. And when Davis got the call for the Hall, one of the first persons he heard congratulations from was Goff.

“It worked out great for Terrell,” Goff said. “He ended up in the perfect place at the perfect time. He was a great player for us, but unfortunately he had injuries. I tell him, ‘if we had run you like Garrison you would have been worn out by the time you got the NFL.’”

All’s well that ends well…

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